Zollo Intrigued By The RedHawks

With the graduation of Nick Winbush and Antonio Ballard next season, Miami will be depleted of bigs for the 2011-12 campaign and beyond. Starting that season, there will be only three post players on the roster. As such, Miami needs a post player who can contribute immediately. As one of the best post players in Kentucky, Vinny Zollo may be the man the RedHawks' are looking for.

With the graduation of Nick Winbush and Antonio Ballard after next season, Miami-OH will be depleted of bigs for the 2011-12 campaign and beyond. Starting that season, the only post players on the roster will then senior Julian Mavunga, little used (so far) junior Vince Legarza, and sophomore Drew McGhee. As such, Miami is looking for a post player in the class of 2011 who is good enough, and willing enough, to be thrown into the fire and contribute immediately as a frosh. As one of the best, if not the best, post players in Kentucky, Vinny Zollo (6'9," 235 pounds), may be the answer the RedHawks' are looking for.

Zollo committed to Kentucky after being offered a scholarship as a freshman by then UK coach Billy Gillespie. He later decommitted after the coaching change. The experience has made him wiser in how he evaluates schools. He said, "My recruiting has been all over the place. West Virginia, Tennessee, Xavier, and Kentucky all recruited me as a frosh. I decommitted because of the style of play. I feel like a veteran of recruiting. I now know that it is not necessarily the top 25 team or the team on T.V. every night that is the best fit for me. That is why I am interested in Miami, Ohio, and the MAC schools. I want to go where I can contribute right away."

Zollo is also currently getting strong interest from Kansas, West Virginia, Xavier, Butler, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State (offer), and Western Kentucky (offer). He plans to visit Tennessee, West Virginia, and Miami this month. He visited Butler in April.

The standout from George Rogers Clark High School is seriously considering Miami. He explained, "I like Miami and the style of play. I grew up in Ohio about an hour away and have been to lots of Miami games when I was young. I played AAU in Dayton and had a relationship with (former Miami player and current pro) Nathan Peavy. It is close to home (Oxford is 30 miles from Cincinnati). I am very intrigued with Miami." Zollo also said he has "a good relationship with Coach Coles and (assistant) Coach Grunk."

Miami is also recruiting one of his high school teammates, 6'4" 2G Robbie Stenzel. Zollo said the two are close. "We are good friends. He has a great work ethic. I do not know where he will end up (in college). I know he is going to Miami's Elite Camp at the end of the month."

Last season for Clark, Zollo averaged 19 points, 14 rebounds, and led his team in every statistical category including assists.

Zollo thinks he and Stenzel will have a great year next winter. He added, "We will have a big team with Robbie and me. We are expected to be good. We have a job to do and we want rings in March. Great work ethic with these guys."

Since Zollo's AAU season is now on hold until the July evaluation tournaments, he is focusing on working out with his team and getting his body ready for the next level.

This summer he is playing AAU ball with Indiana Elite. Zollo is very comfortable with the club. Zollo said, "It is a great organization that is giving me national exposure."

Zollo was not always big. He had a late growth spurt. Zollo grew up playing guard and now has the ballhandling and shooting skills one expects from a player at that position. He actually plays the 3 on his AAU team which Zollo believes is improving his game by allowing him to continue to work on his guard skills.

Zollo's idol is Tyler Hansborough and patterns his game after the former UNC star. Zollo explained, "I can relate to him. I play more of the euro style and create great mismatches." He also said examples of the way he plays could be seen with Gordon Hayward or Dirk Norwitski.

A student of the game of basketball, Zollo has read books by coaching legends John Wooden and Bob Knight. He said the books have taught him about control. He explained, "I learned to control what you can control. I cannot control whether I am shooting well in a game. I can control defensive intensity. I can control busting my butt."

The son of an English teacher, Zollo appreciates the student side of the term "student-athlete." Zollo maintains a G.P.A. of 3.3 and has earned a 19 on the ACT.

Although undecided on a major in college, he is leaning toward sports medicine. He gained an appreciation for the profession after he broke his fibula two weeks after he committed to Kentucky. He experience has led him to believe that "trainers do not get enough credit."

Outside of basketball court he is a loyal follower of the Cincinnati Reds. "I try to make it to GAPB (Great American Ballpark) when ever I can."

Stayed tuned to RedHawk Insider as we follow Vinny Zollo in the future.

Follow T. Tod Mollaun on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/mollautt

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